“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
Have you ever had a great idea that really excited you, but then… you didn’t quite get around to making it a reality? Of course you have. All of us have! I believe that having big ideas that never get done prevents you from living your absolute best life. In this post, I’m going to look at the force which puts the brakes on your brilliant ideas, and how you can beat it, get your ideas in motion and start living your dream life. Sound good? Read on!
In my recent post, Big Transformations and My Wild Ride, I introduced the secret problem hiding behind all the “reasons” why big ideas don’t come to fruition: Gravity. Just like physical gravity, there is another kind of gravity at work in your life. If the forces that are holding you in place (I call this Gravity) are more powerful than the forces you are using to change your life, the changes you want to make don’t stick.
Let me explain. Gravity is the problem when a person gets excited about a new diet, and finally losing the extra weight, only to return to their usual habits within weeks. It’s also the problem when a person dreams about becoming their own boss but never does anything more than read inspiring books about entrepreneurship. Procrastination, self-doubt, broken promises, the prevailing culture and even family and friends are real forces acting like gravity to hold your life in place, and keeping it just the way it is.
So that’s why all those great new things you want to bring into your life don’t always happen. A big idea by itself is not powerful enough to overcome the Gravity that is keeping your life the way it currently is. Maybe the light breeze of your idea ruffles your spirit for a day or two, but the gravitational pull of “what is” is so strong it keeps your life in place.
Here’s a little more detail about what’s going on behind the scenes when you find yourself inspired and excited by an idea one day, and envision a new path, but then return to your same old self the next, changing nothing. So, say you had an idea to start a charitable foundation. Here are some examples of the forces of Gravity at work, which can, if you let them, prevent you from moving forward with your new inspiration:
Procrastination: I’ll start working on the charitable foundation after I get A, B, and C done and I have more time.
Self-doubt: I think it would be great to run a charitable foundation but I’ve never done anything like that before. It’s beyond my ability. I’m just kidding myself.
Broken promises: I started working on the charitable foundation, creating an outline of things to do and even doing some but I did not sustain my effort and eventually I just stopped.
Culture: You can’t start your own charitable foundation because… you are a busy mom… you do not have a college education… you are not wealthy… you do not have a resume full of executive experience. The culture we live in often sends limiting messages of what we are “supposed to do” and what we are “not supposed to do” that keep us in place, like gravity.
Family: No one in our family has ever started a charitable foundation, why do you think you can? Do you think you’re better than the rest of us?
Family & Friends (Jealous): You are nothing more than an administration assistant. What makes you think you can start and run a charitable foundation?
Family & Friends (Who will miss you): I don’t want you to start a charitable foundation because… you’ll become too busy to spend time with me… you’ll meet a new circle of friends and not have time for me… you’ll develop new and different interests and won’t want to spend time with me. And, by the way, family and friends may never even say these things to you, but you might still find yourself imagining what you think they’re thinking, and playing out these conversations in your head!
Remember what Sir Isaac Newton taught us. “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
Your life as it is today is like the object at rest. There are powerful forces working very hard to keep it just as it is. If you want to change it, you need to use forces greater than Gravity to push or pull your life in a different direction. You need a pathway to greater power. In my book Turning Inspiration Into Action, I set out a tried and tested Process for overcoming this Gravity and creating the life of your dreams. If you like this post, you’ll love the book!
As for me, I’m not going to let Gravity hold my life in place – I’m off for a hike to think about my next big idea…
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